State offering amnesty program for those who owe back taxes


For a limited time, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is giving tardy taxpayers a chance to get back taxes off their back.

The Department of Revenue Friday announced the launch of a tax amnesty program that allows individuals and businesses to pay back taxes and have all penalties and half of the interest waived. But time is limited. The opportunity lasts only 60 days. All tax amnesty payments must be made in full by June 19.

“The overwhelming majority of individuals and businesses pay their taxes on time, but for those living with the burden of unpaid taxes, this program is an opportunity to get relief,” said C. Daniel Hassell, deputy secretary for tax policy.

Most individuals and businesses are eligible if they have unfiled tax returns, or unpaid or underpaid taxes due by the end of 2015. That means amnesty will be extended to people who might potentially be decades late on paying taxes they owe, Hassell said.

More than 30 state taxes administered by the Department of Revenue are eligible for amnesty with some restrictions.

The state legislature authorized the tax amnesty in the budget it passed last year expecting to net an estimated $100 million in delinquent tax collections for the current year fiscal budget.

State records show the greatest number of tax delinquents — 182,508 — are out of the state. They includes corporations that have branches here and former residents of Pennsylvania who have moved to other states. Philadelphia County is home to 132,336 tax delinquents and Allegheny County ranks a distant second place with 59,676.tax delinquents.

Delinquent taxpayers from all Pennsylvania counties and ever U.S. state owe $3.47 billion in Pennsylvania taxes that may be eligible for the Tax Amnesty program. As an incentive to those who have been flying under the radar, individuals and businesses with tax liabilities unknown to the Department of Revenue only have to file and pay taxes dating back to Jan. 1, 2011.

Those who owe back tax should visit www.backtax.pa.gov or call 1-844-727-8283 to apply for amnesty and make the required payment by June 19.



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